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Thursday, March 31, 2005

Al Qaeda's grand strategy 

[UPDATE: Welcome Roger L. Simon readers! And The Belmont Club and Winds of Change! And LGF readers! I hope you look around at some of our other work.]

Monday evening I attended a public lecture on al Qaeda's grand strategy by Michael Doran, Asst. Professor of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton. Professor Doran was rather famously passed over for tenure last spring, quite possibly because he does not hold to the prevailing academic dogma about the Iraq war and American policy in the Middle East. At the time, the Daily Princetonian quoted an anonymous professor in the History Department as having said "we don't want him" with the pregnant implication that the reason had little to do with the quality of his scholarship.

In any case, the popular interest in Doran's lecture was such that it overflowed Bowl 16 in the lower level of Woody-Woo, so it moved to the auditorium upstairs. There still weren't enough seats. I got one, though, and typed up seven pages of notes during the 90 minutes that Professor Doran spoke and took questions. The following is a summary of the lecture, essentially a cleaned-up version of my notes with some of my own commentary woven in.

Doran began with the advertised question: "Can an organization that does not have a well-developed command and control network -- such as al Qaeda -- have a grand strategy?"

Al Qaeda is a loose-knit organization that ties together a lot of different radical Islamic groups from other parts of the globe -- essentially a lot of little local affiliates tied together by a common world view. It is unlikely that from his cave in Afghanistan Osama bin Laden is capable of planning all of the moves in this war with the United States.

It is, nevertheless, possible to say that al Qaeda has a grand strategy, even if it is not driven from bin Laden's cave. This is because the ideology of radical Islam incorporates a grand strategy. This radical ideology sets long-term political goals, and it marries means to ends.

How does radical Islam develop and communicate its strategy, and how does it execute? Through the web. There are thousands of pages of al Qaeda material available on the web. Doran has been reading this material and trying to absorb the view of the world that it reflects.

It is becoming clear that the militants who developed and shape the direction of this ideology do have a grand strategy, and that they have spent a lot of time thinking very deeply about their situation. For example, they assumed from the beginning that their organization would be very fragmented.

Al Qaeda's thinkers have reinterpreted Islam all the way back to the time of the Crusades (or even the time of the Prophet). They argue, for example, that Muslim victories in the Crusades were not attributable to Saladin, but to small bands of Muslim insurgents that laid the foundation for Saladin's victories. Their argument is that, in effect, al Qaeda-like organizations were at the source of Muslim triumphs a thousand years ago. These victories did not derive from the state, but from little bands of determined men. This reinterpretation of history shapes how they think about the war al Qaeda fights today.

Just as they are writing about Muslim victories a thousand years ago, Al Qaeda's intellectuals consider themselves in the middle of a very long term struggle. Al Qaeda is saying: “We are not revolutionaries. It is the next generation, or the generation after, that is going to carry out revolution in the Middle East.” It is therefore not quite right to say that al Qaeda is itself going to overthrow these regimes. Al Qaeda’s ambition is “to lay the groundwork for Saladin,” and “shift the balance of power between radical Islam and the states in the Middle East.” As most of TigerHawk's readers know, "al Qaeda" means "the base" or "the foundation" in Arabic.

Al Qaeda is saying, in general, that we’re living through a transitional period in history. It began with the fall of the Soviet Union. During the Cold War, there were two poles, both idolatrous, both anti-Islamic. Together with their puppets in the region, these two powers could control the public space in the region.

But the fall of the Soviet Union, the globalization of the economy and other changes are having the effect of "opening up public spaces that are not controlled by the 'puppet' states." American military and economic power and the local states, which al Qaeda looks at as “one continuous complex,” are not sufficient to control everything everywhere. The goal of al Qaeda, therefore, is to force the contraction of that American/'puppet state' power. This contraction will open up spaces for radical Islam to grow in power unmolested.

Indeed, there are today towns (Doran names a number) in the Middle East where radical Islam is effectively in control. Towns in Jordan, the south of Saudi Arabia, and even Fallujah before the battle in November, remain effectively under radical control because the puppet states and the Americans cannot project power everywhere.

How do we know this? Doran pointed to a web site (missed the URL) that contains a vast amount of Islamist writing (in Arabic). "This is al Qaeda’s library." Vast material about historical Islamist uprisings, and how they have failed. “They are picking over 50 years of failed radicalism and drawing conclusions about how to succeed in the next generation.”

According to Doran, these were main points of transition over the past 50 years:

In the 1930s and 1940s the Muslim Brotherhood arose in Egypt. The big problem, as they understood it, was that Egyptian society had been cut loose from its Islamic moorings. Their naïve view was to put jihad at the center of Muslim life and drive the British out. They thought that once the British were gone society would naturally revert to Islam. They were wrong. Why? According to al Qaeda, the villain was Gamel Abdel-Nasser, the secular Arab nationalist who dominated Egypt during the first half of the Cold War. “In the eyes of the jihadis, Nasser is the devil of all devils. He was a popular, nationalist leader who enjoyed legitimacy at home,” and he “continued the process of westernization that began under the colonialists.”

The Egyptian Islamist, Sayed Qutb, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, began to think about this problem – how is it that Egypt is ruled by an Egyptian, yet Islam has not returned?

Qutb developed a set of doctrines that called for carrying out revolution at home, first. “Only by controlling the state and all of its power can [we] put true Islam back to the center of social and political life.”

Qutb's Muslim Brotherhood inspired similar organizations in other countries, and they all failed. Eventually, their leaders "landed in Afghanistan," the last country that would accomodate them. They began to reflect upon and write about their failure. A new synthesis emerged, and they were influenced by a couple of new influences.

The first was a radical preacher (I missed the name) who reinterpreted the tradition of jihad in Muslim history. He argued, essentially, that the Prophet put together a solid "base" (there's that word again) because he participated in jihad. [I'm sure the Jews of the Medina oasis would agree. - ed.]

The other big influence was Wahabbism, the very strict Islamic tradition that emerged from Saudi Arabia and is promoted by the House of Saud. "The Wahabbis spend a lot of time defining who is and who is not a believer. They start dividing up the bad guys into all sorts of different kinds of bad guys.” Some bad guys are a lot wors than others.

So while these descendants of the Muslim Brotherhood were sitting there in Afghanistan they drew several big conclusions:

First, the 'puppet states' were (and are) a lot stronger than they had originally supposed, and the jihadis were and are a lot weaker than they had realized. In addition, the jihadis have a tendency toward fragmentation, which tendency is exacerbated by the state which is strives to foster that fragmentation.

The first conclusion of the Afghanistan years was that the jihadis concluded that they could not overthrow the state and usher in Islamist rule by themselves. This realization represented an intellectual departure from the Qutbian argument.

Second, they recognized that public opinion matters. With the right public face, the radicals believed that they could divide the "bad guys."

In order to recruit more followers, they decided that they have to be very clear about their goals, very transparent. The rank and file cannot be confused if it is to be harnessed toward the strategic objective.

But, at the same time, they decided they have to be clever about how they present themselves. They have, therefore, become effective propagandists.

Even though al Qaeda is, by our lights, very extreme, they caution themselves against extremism. For example, even if the Saudi state is illegitimate, al Qaeda draws all kinds of philosophical and moral distinctions designed to divide their enemies. This derives from both Islamic law, which they debate constantly, and their concern for public opinion. Al Qaeda will say, “We have the right to put a bullet in the head of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, but it is not wise to do it." Al Qaeda chooses targets that will enjoy a wider legitimacy for violence – such as Westerners living in isolated compounds – but the propaganda that they put out is directed at the Saudi leadership.

Doran cited as a small example the killing of Theo Van Gogh, which we now know was the work of jihadis. The letter fixed by a knife to Van Gogh’s chest was directed at Muslim apostates, even though the victim of the violence was a Westerner.

There have been very few attempts on the lives of Saudi princes, even though al Qaeda screams about it all the time. This is not because the thousands of Saudi princes are so well protected, but because al Qaeda is worried how the public will perceive killing the royal family.

This ability to calculate their violence and calibrate it to their audience makes them much more sophisticated than previous generations of extremists.

So where does the war stand now, according to al Qaeda? A leading al Qaeda operative has written a book, the title of which translates loosely to “The Management of Chaos.” According to al Qaeda, the current stage of revolution is the stage of “vexation and exhaustion” of the enemy. They have a notion of how to do this to the Americans and to their 'puppets'.

You vex and exhaust the Americans, according to al Qaeda, by making them spend a lot of money. The United States is a materialist society, and if forced to spend too much money it will “cut and run.”

The means to this end is to force the Americans to spread themselves thinly. Al Qaeda wants to strike everywhere, not just spectacular high value attacks. This will cause the Americans to defend a lot of places at high cost.

In addition, al Qaeda wants to force Americans to carry the war into the heartland of the Middle East [We have obliged them in this. - ed.] There are two reasons why al Qaeda sought an American invasion in the Middle East. First, it will be very costly for the United States and will therefore drain our treasury. Second, bringing the war to the heartland will have a polarizing effect within Muslim society. Doran believes that they borrowed this “polarization” idea from Palestinian organizations of the 60s and 70s. Americans striking back “without precision” will polarize Muslim society between supporters and proponents of jihad.

It is not necessary, according to al Qaeda, that they get the great masses on their side. The goal is to win over “an important segment of the youth.” Their propaganda is directed to young men. One of their propagandists says that “if we can win over only 5% of one billion Muslims, we will have an unbeatable army.”

Al Qaeda also aims to "vex and exhaust" the local rulers. They start with the assumption that the social stratum in most of these countries is extremely thin. The number of well-trained troops in these countries who will remain loyal to the regime is small. The goal of the violence is to spread these loyal, competent troops thinly. Again, al Qaeda hopes therefore to strike dispersed soft targets with sufficient economic or political significance that they must be defended by the few competent soldiers loyal to the regime. They have targeted the foreign compounds in Saudi Arabia, for example. Once you have done this, then “space opens up in society where the jihadis can dominate.” The leadership in the country has to start making distinctions in their society about places that are and are not worth guarding. There are then, by the decision of the regime, places where the radicals can operate unmolested.

You can see this kind of thing very clearly in Iraq. Al Qaeda wants to open up spaces where it can operate with greater impunity. It had that in Sunni-dominated regions for a while, although that may be changing. Doran did not say why it may be changing, but his other work suggests that it is because of the success of the elections and improved counterinsurgency.

So al Qaeda claims it represents all of Islam, the true Islam, but "if you actually look at what they are doing on the ground, they play to the interests and perceptions of different groups. In Saudi Arabia, they play to southern discontents. Saudi Arabia has a "southern problem." Al Qaeda has been playing to southern disaffection. The southerners have an accent, they are calls “0-7s,” which refers to the area code. [Saudi crackers?!? - ed.] The traditional routes for advancement in this region are the clergy or the security services. Clerics and guns. "Al Qaeda has opened up a third option, which is clerics with guns.”

“Like all good politicians, they manage to speak to the resentments of particular constituencies while purporting to speak for all Muslims. This is what makes them so dangerous.”

Doran warns that we will need more than democracy to win this fight.

“American ideology is not bad, but democracy alone is not going to solve their problems. It is not at all obvious that the people of southern Saudi Arabia, for example, are going to be better off in a free and open Saudi Arabia.” This gives al Qaeda an opportunity to appeal to southern resentments, while it attacks democracy as idolatry.

If Doran is right about al Qaeda's strategy, “then a lot of the stuff being said in the media and universities is wrong.” Michael Scheuer is wrong. Al Qaeda is carrying out a struggle for a new order in the region. It is about relations between Muslims first and foremost, and concern about the United States is secondary. [Read Doran's op-ed piece on that subject here. - ed.] Even the greatest possible public diplomacy will not necessarily carry the day, according to Doran.

That having been said, he is optimistic that al Qaeda will lose this struggle within Islam, even if it takes a generation for the victory of al Qaeda's enemies to become clear.

Questions from the audience:

Why has there been no attack on U.S. soil since September 11?

Doran claimed no special insight into al Qaeda's military capabilities, but ventured a guess: “My guess is that they don’t have the capability. They could blow up a mall, but if you’ve brought down the Twin Towers, what act will follow?”

What’s the real difference between a guy like Zarqawi and a death cult?

“I don’t think he’s indiscriminately killing. They are targeting people fairly carefully. They are attacking recruitment centers for the police, economic installations, election workers, anything that will legitimate the new order. It is designed to weaken the state. One of the differences between Iraq and Saudi Arabia is that al Qaeda is much more willing to kill Sunni Muslims in Iraq. This is why they don’t attack the oil installations in Saudi Arabia." Doran’s theory is that the combination of Zarqawi and Saddam’s henchmen has led to a more indiscriminate slaughter in Iraq.

How do al Qaeda intellectuals explain what has happened in Afghanistan?

“They do not explain this well. This is why I think we will win in the long run. There are some things they do not think well about. They don’t trust the average Muslim. They do not have a good example. Whenever something bad happens to them, they say ‘The situation is clarified.’ They always say this. They also do not think very clearly about the sectarians. They are going to lose in Iraq because their message is not attractive to the Kurds and the Shiites."

How is this going to play out in Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood is advocating democracy?

“There is a difference between the Muslim Brotherhood and the radicals. It is kind of the tap root of these organizations, but it is not itself radical. Al Qaeda hates the Brotherhood, because it operates within a nationalist framework, which al Qaeda is very much against.”

Is Iran the ideal state organization?

“The Iranians are Shiites, and al Qaeda hates the Shiites. Over the long term, Iranians are very threatening to al Qaeda. Politics make strange bedfellows, so they may make alliances of convenience over the short term, but there are a lot of antibodies there over the short term.”

Is the ultimate goal of the radicals transforming society, or taking power?

“Ultimately, it is taking power. But they are very calculating.”

Are those goals limited to the Middle East?

“No.”

What about the al Qaeda strategy explains the Madrid bombings?

“That is a good example of al Qaeda thinking strategically. The Spaniards were the weak link in the coalition, and al Qaeda thought if they could drive Spain out they would drive a wedge between the U.S. and Europe.” Doran added that he did not understand the strategic rationale for the subsequent attempted bombing that was foiled. [This tactical confusion may be the price al Qaeda pays for its decentralized structure -- even in tightly managed organizations, you can't count on all your "employees" doing everything consistently with the objectives of the organization. There are a lot of dopes out there who act on behalf of the organization for personal reasons, or out of stupidity. You have to think that happens within al Qaeda's affiliates all the time. - ed.]

What advice does Doran have to a U.S. policy maker that has to balance the interests of democratic civil society with the risk that some of these organizations are fronts for radicals? [A smart question. - ed.]

“I’ve been surprised how little work has been done on clerical politics in Saudi Arabia. We need to have a much more textured understanding of the domestic map of politics in these countries.”

Can changes in American policy influence this situation?

“I fight against the argument that solving the Arab-Isreali problem will make all of this go away. However, I am more confident than a lot of people about Iraq because of this Sunni-Shiite division. I find it hard to believe that radicalism will take root there.”

Has there been a change in American attitudes toward the House of Saud?

“Everything has changed, and nothing has changed. The relationship will always been defined by shared strategic interests. The importance of the region for the global economy is such that we will still care very much about Saudi Arabia’s policies.

"They didn’t lift a finger against al Qaeda until the bombs started going off, but I’ve been surprised at how effective they have been since. Al Qaeda is significantly weakened there.

The Saudi leadership is pragmatic at the top levels.”

Is Osama bin Laden any longer a central figure? Is his capture or non-capture a sideshow?

“I don’t know. I don’t think he is insignificant. I think he has a pretty direct connection to the radicals in Saudi Arabia. His relationship with al Zarqawi in Iraq is more tenuous. In one sense he is irrelevant. There is an ideology out there that has a sense of its own. It tells everybody what to do."

Indeed.

UPDATE: Here's the Prince's report on Doran's lecture.

48 Comments:

By Blogger PatCA, at Thu Mar 31, 11:45:00 AM:

Great article. The crowds at the lecture imply that there is a great hunger for the academic minority view of the current WOT.  

By Blogger Kyda Sylvester, at Thu Mar 31, 05:48:00 PM:

The southerners have an accent, they are calls “0-7s,” which refers to the area code. [Saudi crackers?!? - ed.]

In New Jersey they're the 609's.

Seriously, interesting lecture and great report. I too am gratified that the Professor commanded an overflow crowd. Thanks.  

By Blogger Cardinalpark, at Thu Mar 31, 09:37:00 PM:

Super report Tigerhawk and very interesting. When you have absorbed, you should follow up with your own interpretation and views.

Truth is, al qaeda is weak. But its ruthlessness, its misogyny and its willingness to commit suicidal atrocities aimed at innocents creates fear. Al qaeda cannot actually win anything. Look at what 9/11 wrought for them.

1) Loss of Afghanistan as home and friendly Islamic regime.
2) Placement of 150,000 US troops in center of Arabia.
3) Ascension of shiite majority in Iraq and decline of sunnis.
4) Loss of an enormous number of operatives
5) Mobilization of non radical Iraqis against them

They also underestimated (based on our 91 Iraq cease fire and Somalia withdrawal) our will and economic strength.

Having said that, they can cause significant damage (without winning) because they cannot be deterred by fear of retribution (as a state's ruler might be). The only sensible policy solution for dealing with them is, sad to say, kill them one by one until there are none left. This will deter recruits. Recruits aren't yet true believers. They are undecided. Show them enough dead bodies and they will not sign up. Furthermore, give them better economic and political prospects, and they'll prefer to live free than die oppressed.

They can be as clever as they like with the media. Their ideology is too tiny, their "base" too weak to win.

Does anybody worry that they might launch/inspire other anarchic types of radical lunatic non muslims to commit more acts of mass murder (like Tim McVeigh) in copycat fashion?  

By Blogger Fausta, at Fri Apr 01, 10:51:00 AM:

Excellent report.
I'm glad you were able to attend -- I saw the notice but wasn't able to make it, but your report's more than makes up for missing it.  

By Anonymous NooYawkah, at Fri Apr 01, 11:03:00 AM:

cardinalpark, I'd keep an eye out for the followers of Ward Churchill, the pseudo-Indian pseudo-warrior pseudo-artist professor who proclaimed that America "needed more 9-11s".

It's appalling that Churchill receives such protection in academic circles on the basis of freedom of expression, while Michael Doran gets the boot for his research.  

By Blogger Brian, at Fri Apr 01, 11:05:00 AM:

Thanks for the transcript. I can appreciate how hard it is to listen and to type a 90 minute lecture.

I'm in the Navy reserves, and about six months ago I heard a lecture by a Naval Officer who had grown up in Saudi Arabia and whose understanding of Islam and the history of Wahhabism is fascinating. He is a Muslim, and clearly despises the radical forces (such as Al Qaeda) that have distorted his religion.

He talked about Islamic scholars/thinkers, and how their thinking has evolved (or devolved) from 800 A.D. to where it is now.

He concluded his talk in short by saying that they only way the forces of radical Islam can be defeated, is by ending tyranny in the Middle East. And yes, he is a Naval Officer but this was a talk to Medical Officers and not an official policy briefing.  

By Anonymous Roger R, at Fri Apr 01, 01:11:00 PM:

I've always thought that the "openness" of Western society was a problem for us in these encounters with al-Qaeda. However, the key takeaway from the discussion, for me, is that al Qaeda is now forced to communicate through the same channels, ie. in open fora about strategies and options.

This may be the primary value of removing "safe-havens" (such as Afghanistan and Fallujah) from the al-Qaeda operational capability.

We are now on an advantaged footing: we BOTH have open strategic discussions and closed/secret operational/tactical discussions. This gives us a broader "strategic" analytical capability given our own orientation toward open communication and the sheer size of our analytical community. In addition, our diversity is a huge advantage counter-balancing the tendency of "true believers" to control discussions in radical communities. We also have an advantage in coordinating our own operational/tactical plans with our strategy, because we have the "safe havens" that they have been denied.

Bottom-line: we should continue to deny "safe havens" to the radicals and "marginalize" the radical community by reaching out to the majorities that fear them.  

By Anonymous Uncle Jefe, at Fri Apr 01, 07:04:00 PM:

The radical preacher you refer to-
Sheik Abdullah Azzam?  

By Blogger rocketsbrain, at Mon Apr 04, 03:38:00 PM:

Tigerhawk,

Here's a related post on this Religion of Peace on our site:

*****

The Management of Barbarism

Jamestown Foundation (www.jamestown.org)

HT to Aaron at Internet Haganah.

The Jamestown Foundation took note of this new online book and posted an English summary. The Jamestown summary according to HSPIG’s Arabic language resources is an accurate representation of the original Arabic document.

This is an interesting read for Islamofascistism’s perverted view of the world and their religious mission to rid the world of the “infidels.” This drives the term holy rollers to a new high. This book is catching some “eyes” around the world. Worth a read. There doesn’t appear yet to be an English translation. We will update with any new info as we get it.

The book’s original link is dead. We are hosting this book (original Arabic text) on our server. The Jamestown Foundation’s English summary is also posted there. See the HSPIG Forum’s Site:

Link Here  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Apr 04, 04:47:00 PM:

By forcing al Quaeda to compete in the market place of ideas, their ultimate ideological backruptcy will sooner or later become apparent. The hypocracy of their behavior in Afghanistan, their barbarous and revolting murders in Iraq, and their rigid pseudo theology will doom them. They cannot ultimately compete against a hot babe and a cool car, or more to the point, against liberty and market capitalism.

A "fanatical five percent" will work in a totalitarianist vacuum, but not against movies, television, and the internet.  

By Blogger Jason_Pappas, at Mon Apr 04, 08:39:00 PM:

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.  

By Blogger Jason_Pappas, at Mon Apr 04, 08:41:00 PM:

I think it is clear that a democracy in Iraq or elsewhere, while desirable, won’t solve the problem of Islamic terrorists. Many of us have argued that Islamist grows in tolerant societies ( ). Being an ideological movement (Doran is right on this) it can spread best in open societies. It may not be able to take over those societies but it can recruit sizable numbers of jihadists. Ultimately, we’ll have to become smart, conserve resources, and wear them down instead. But to do that we have to understand their ideology and goals. Doran is increasing our knowledge in this area despite the universities prohibition on exposing Islam. Bravo. Excellent analysis, TigerHawk.  

By Anonymous Brandon, at Tue Apr 05, 03:19:00 AM:

He argued, essentially, that the Prophet put together a solid "base" (there's that word again) because he participated in jihad. [I'm sure the Jews of the Medina oasis would agree. - ed.]

Not quite sure what you're getting at here. One of my church elders recently taught a 12-week class about Islam, and we were surprised to find out that in the beginning, Muslims preferred the monotheistic Jews/Christians to the other local religions, and mainly went after the polytheists. Therefore the Jews of the Medina oasis, while they did need to pay a non-Muslim-person tax, were mostly left alone.

According to the information provided. A good sign was that this class was always packed, and we had to arrive early to ensure getting a seat.  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Tue Apr 05, 10:59:00 AM:

I'm no expert on the history of the three religions, but I believe that the Jews of the Medina Oasis were all killed by followers of Mohammed. However, Mohammed's subsequent treatment of Jews and Islam's recognition of them as monotheists did accord Jews some measure of tolerance for most of the Muslim era (they were often better off than under Christian rule, in particular). This has led many scholars to conclude that Mohammed had the Jews of Medina killed for political, rather than religious, reasons. This is a tasteful perspective for people who prefer political killings over religiously-motivated ones (usually because it means that the hatred that inspires the killings is specific, rather than systematic).  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Apr 05, 12:43:00 PM:

@ brandon.

That story repeats throughout Islamic history up to today. They have a "weakest first" tactical and strategic art. The weakest player is eliminated and then they move up the chain. The Jews throughout the old Middle East were rich and relatively powerful but focused around enclaves. Mohammed isolated each enclave and then either betrayed or directly attacked them in turn. The Jews failed to recognize the threat as collective (all Jews) and accepted the political explanations as specific to each attack.

Same strategy today. Attack Spain as the weakest. The rest of Europe is assured that it could not happen to them because it was Spain's participation in the coalition. However a new reason to attack a country can be invented each time.

Voila, a facade of discontinuous 'justifiable' actions covering a grand strategy.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Apr 05, 12:45:00 PM:

@brandon post by me...I do not have a blogger login. :)

jonathan

jonathan_nospam@turnerclan.us  

By Anonymous wannabe, at Tue Apr 05, 05:29:00 PM:

#1. I second Uncle Jefe's suggestion, that the radical scholar Doran was talking about must have been Sheikh Azzam.....mentor to Bin Laden and Al Zawahiri and killed mysteriously in Islambad in 1989..

#2. Excellent report and sounded like an excellent lecture, Prof. Doran knows his stuff - and what he points is the key that so so many people and esp the MSM and the Europeans miss - these guys are in it for the long haul, they are willing to wait for centuries, or at least they claim they can so we have to be in for the long haul to counter their influence and complacency is dangerous

#3. Sure beats listen to Ward "I'm a Faux Indian, I'm a Faux Academic"
Churchill - I hope Prof. Doran gets snapped up by a real university soon  

By Anonymous WiseGuy, at Sat Apr 30, 03:40:00 PM:

Like most Westerners, Prof. Moran misinterprets causes, effects and events regarding the Middle East, specifically in this case, Al-Qaeda. (another in this category is Professor Bernard Lewis). It's not so much that they misinterpret, is that they look in the wrong places and thereby come up with incorrect conclusions. To wit:

1. Although correctly identifying the "South" as a problem area in Saudi Arabia (henceforth: KSA), it is in fact the "East" where the real danger lies. This is where the majority of the Shia in KSA live, particuarly in the city of Qateef and surrounding villages.

And the danger is not that the indigenous Shia are going to do anything. Instead, the danger comes from Iran which, although it won't admit it publically, claims the entire Eastern Province of KSA as part and parcel of Iran. The Eastern Province, of course, is where the vast oil fields of KSA lie. That the Shia of KSA would greet their Iranian Shia conqueror "brothers" with open arms, is, of course, why they are currently in disrepute in KSA.

(It's interesting to note that the CIA map of KSA on the web doesn't even show Al-Qateef as a city in KSA) (To which I snicker and say, TeeHee, here we go again).

2. To ascribe a Grand Strategy to Al-Qaeda is categorically preposterous. That's like claiming that The Three Stooges could have a grand strategy in robbing a bank. Osama Bin Laden and cohorts are intellectually incapable of conceiving such a plan.

In fact, 9/11 was a total disaster for Al-Qaeda. They completely misread the vast Muslim majority that they supposedly represented.

Oh sure, they can (and do) attract the criminal element, the disaffected and the lobotomized among Muslim youth, but the vast majority of young people, particularly in KSA, have been totally turned off not only by the the supposed grand plans of the Would-Be-Prophet (Osama), but by the Islamic religion itself. They say: "If THIS (9/11) is what Islam, I don't want any part of it.

The reason there won't be another 9/11 is that Al-Qaeda has belatedly realized this major catastrophe and is desperate to turn the tide. Not only did 9/11 turn the West against Islam, it turned Muslim youth against Islam with a vitriolic hatred.

3. Ascribing madmen such as Sayyid Qutb (he was hanged by his own government, after all) as one of the founders of Islamic disaffection with the West is laughable. Read his "Signposts on the Road" (most commonly known in English as "Milestones")so that you can see what a charlatan he really was. Reading the text in Arabic is like reading a redaction of the Koran. Reading it in English is like reading the prose of a raving maniac. It is totally incoherent (something that also describes Middle Eastern societies in the contemporary world).

4. Finally, the reason "Saudi Princes" and so on haven't been attacked by Al-Qaeda clones....just to give one more example of misinterpretation by Westerners including Moran.....is that the Saudi Royal family has made it perfectly clear that if that were to happen, the religious elements currently "in power" in KSA would be annihilated and pulverized, all within a matter of days. After all, this nearly happened once before: when TV was introduced into the Kingdom several decades ago, the "religious elements" rose up in a fury. How was this "uprising" taken care of? Easy. They were all shoved into airplanes and tossed out alive several thousand feet above the Empty Quarter. End of story.

I could go on but, naturally, I can't here. Look to Bin Laden's youth for the real cause of his disaffection. THAT story is a hilarious riot of total disorientation.

WiseGuy  

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